(excerpt from a recent sermon on Genesis 1:1)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
I’ve been breaking this single verse down into chunks as a way of digging into God’s domain, his sovereignty over everything we can see, everything we can’t see, everything we can imagine, and the time in which we see, don’t see, and imagine. I want to talk about the heavens and the earth on two levels. First, I want to talk about the heavens and the earth as all the stuff we can see. If God created everything we can see, then God’s domain is everything we can see.
Personally, I forget about this at times, but there are TWO books of revelation. God wrote TWO books. It’s one of those theological realities that doesn’t make it to the post-it note on my forehead. (You know, so I can see it when I brush my teeth.)
The one we do think about is the Bible. You can call that special revelation.
The one we don’t think about is creation. You can call that general revelation.
Romans 1:20 says God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature” can be perceived in the things that have been made. God laid these things out so that people would have no excuse. We can’t miss him. What we gather from creation is not sufficient to know the Lord, but it is sufficient to know of the Lord on a certain level.
I believe we limit our understanding by saying that because creation is big and beautiful, it shows us God’s glory.
“The heavens declare the glory of God.”
As an example, picture a starry night, or the Grand Canyon, or a starry night at the Grand Canyon. I’ve heard this argument before in the observation of nature, “How could you deny a Creator? This stuff is so BIG and BEAUTIOUS!” Yes, it is big, it is beautiful, and it is humbling, but such statements only scratch the surface.
I believe science is beyond important and worth engaging in order to study the divine attributes and eternal power of God. I also believe science and faith are in no way at odds with each other. After all, if God wrote the book on creation, it is infallible – when rightly interpreted. I believe misinterpretation usually comes down to asking many of the wrong questions on a fundamental level – but that’s another post for another day.
Let’s stretch out the big and beautiful to see what we can see. Pick a scientific law… any scientific law. (I’m envisioning a deck of scientific law cards spread masterfully before you, because somewhere I’m sure someone owns that deck of cards.) Grab a real law. Laws are beyond dispute. No theories. Gravity works well in this case.
Think about what is true of gravity within time and space.
Gravity exists everywhere in the created universe. Gravity is omnipresent.
Gravity has always existed, as long as creation has existed. So gravity is, in a sense, eternal.
Gravity never changes. Gravity is immutable.
Gravity has absolute power within time and space. There is no speck of the universe over which gravity does not exert its power. Gravity is omnipotent.
Gravity cannot be seen, but it can be experienced. Gravity is immaterial & invisible.
Even though we define gravity scientifically, every investigation raises more questions and sparks new studies. A full and complete understanding of gravity is elusive. Gravity is incomprehensible.
Gravity plays fair with everyone. Gravity is just and good.
If you deny gravity, you will lose. If you decide to fight against gravity, gravity will destroy you. Gravity is righteous.
Gravity exists on three plains. First, as truth. Second, as the articulation of that truth – a word. Third, gravity exists as applied power. Gravity is triune.
Now, if you know anything about God, you know that he is omnipresent. He is eternal. He is immutable, omnipotent, immaterial, invisible, incomprehensible, just, good, and righteous. God exists eternally as three persons – the Father plans, the Son is the expression of the plan, the Spirit is the power of the plan and the accomplishment applied.
I’m not saying scientific law IS God. God is beyond time and space. He is wholly other. I’m saying scientific law DESCRIBES God. It is a book that points us to the Creator. It functions similarly to the moral, civil, and ceremonial law we find in the Bible. The biblical law reveals to us God’s holiness and his saving heart, his character. Scientific law reveals to us God’s divine attributes and his eternal power.
This works for gravity, thermodynamics, cosmic expansion, Newton’s laws of motion, Archimedes law of buoyancy, any of them. When you dip into scientific law, you’re dipping into handiwork that speaks the very nature of God. It runs so much deeper than “big and beautious.”
The book of creation serves to condemn mankind, because while the book shows God’s awesome power, there is nothing in this book to reconcile our sinfulness. Instead, we are left humbled before our Creator with no accompanying message of hope. But the book of creation should drive us to know more of him who fashioned us from the dirt.
Thankfully, there are two books with two different messages.
The book of Scripture reveals “the LORD, the LORD, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
The book of Scripture reveals that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forebearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26)
Though the books speak very differently regarding the relationship between God and man, both are nonetheless true and necessary. The book of creation magnificently sings the glory of God. If this is true, then the implications are overwhelming.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The seen world is God’s domain. And we are without excuse.
(I didn’t come up with this on my own. (If only!) For a great resource, check out Redeeming Science by Vern Poythress)